Our History

The Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Southern CT, Inc., was founded in 1989 through a large effort and collaboration between the Department of Children and Families, local agencies, law enforcement, courts, medical professionals, community members and the Exchange Clubs of CT. The DBA Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center was changed to HELP for Kids in 2018.

The HELP name was originated from the abbreviation of Hope Educate Love and Protect our children. The principal purpose of our organization is to stop the cycle of violence in families and to prevent child abuse and neglect. Strengthen families and create safe home environments to allow children to grow up, happy and safe with their families in their community.

The Center became an affiliate of Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) and its Healthy Families America model in October of 2020. Prevent Child Abuse America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization committed to preventing child abuse and neglect through education. Prevent Child Abuse America studied the best grassroot practices in child abuse and neglect prevention home visiting programs since the 70’s, subsequently creating a model rigorous enough to achieve lasting outcomes, yet flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of families throughout the US. 

Healthy Families America (HFA) is a nationally-recognized, evidence-based home visiting program, launched by Prevent Child Abuse America in 1992. The program utilizes resources that are based on scientific research. These resources help enable kids, families, and entire communities to thrive—today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. Today there are more than 580 HFA sites throughout the Nation serving more than 73,000 families each year. www.Preventchildabuse.org 

As well our agency has been affiliated with the National Exchange Club Foundation (NEC) since it opened its doors. NEC’s philosophy and vision embodies a strong America, safe communities, and unified people.  The name “Exchange” was selected because they wanted to exchange ideas and information with like-minded individuals about how to better serve their communities and inspire communities to become better places to live. The National Exchange Club officially adopted the prevention of child abuse as its National Project in 1979.

The Exchange Home Visiting model evolved from the knowledge and experience of the dynamics surrounding child abuse and neglect. It is based on the work of Sharon Pallone in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as research and concepts first introduced by Drs. Ray Helfer and Henry Kempe, 1960s pioneers in the field. Their leading research on the battered child syndrome expressed belief that most parents who abuse their children are not psychotic and were likely to have been abused themselves as children. Most abusive parents grew up without positive role models for good parenting and often have difficulty developing healthy and trusting relationships.

The National Exchange Club seeks ways to prevent child maltreatment by providing education and informational resources to the public and by coordinating a network of community-based services for parents. The organization’s most significant and successful method of fighting against child abuse is by working directly with at-risk parents through its signature program, the Exchange home visitation model. Through coordination with a nationwide network of community-based Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers, the program has helped more than 691,120 families break the cycle of violence, thus creating safer homes for more than 1,727,800 children. www.Preventchildabuse.com 

National Exchange Foundation provides an accreditation process for all Child Abuse Prevention Centers and the following; professional development, accreditation training, technical support, development and management guidance to ensure compliance with the policies and initiatives and in connection with the current practices associated with the model. Our agency has completed its accreditation process and has received a AAA rating by National Exchange. This is the highest recognition an agency can receive. It is measured on the agency’s professional conduct as well as for consistently achieving 80% or higher success rate.